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A band with a short life span
but a BIG sound,
for which I was also the roady.

Neale Johns: Vocals.
David Hinds: Guitar, vocals.
Lee Brossmann: Bass Guitar.
John 'funky' Halls: Drums.

LR: David Hinds, Neale Johns, John 'funky' Halls, Lee Brossmann at Davids 21st.

Photograph courtesy of David Hinds.

Formed after the demise of 'Mata Hari', this was probably one of Newcastle's first
'super groups'.

Neale Johns
was fresh from 'Fraternity' and 'Blackfeather'.
David Hinds
was from 'Father Mouse', 'Badger', 'Hot Ice', 'The Marshall Brothers Band' and 'Wild Oats'.
John 'funky' Halls
was from 'Badger', 'Apollo', 'Mountain Jack', 'The Marshall Brothers Band' and 'Wild Oats'.
Lee Brossmann
was from 'Cannon', 'Morning', 'Taxi', 'Scarpa Flow' and 'Mata Hari'.

This band had a relatively short life, as the list of gig's below shows. They had purchased most of the 'Mata Hari' sound system and their music was streets ahead of the rest of the Newcastle scene, Dave was experimenting with the new technology of 'stomp' boxes and delays, and 'the funky one' had his whole drum kit miked up, and fed through the p.a. They also let me experiment with synthesizer tape loops at the start of some songs, something which hadn't been done by any other local bands, to the best of my knowledge.
Like I said, the band had such a short life span that the memories are a bit hazy.
They only made one trip out of town, that was to play St Marys in Taree, the rest were
all local gigs. I have no memories as to why the band broke up, but I do remember
that we always had fun.

After the split Neale, Lee, myself and another guy whose name escapes me,
went for a holiday up to the Gold Coast. That was an 'interesting' trip.


Neale Johns: Went back to Sydney to form "Feather", and then reform
He then went to the UK and joined "Fingerprint", then "Johns
and Gallin"
, with Con Gallin.
I do remember seeing Neale in a band around town with his brother Max on bass,
but can't remember it's name. He also has links to other bands "Stone Ostrich",
and "Clawed Rains".
See "Blackfeather" revived yet again, at the bottom of this page...

David Hinds: Joined "Rabbit", when the bunnies folded he joined popular Sydney
hard rock outfit "Finch" / "Contraband". He remained with that band until the end of
1979, appearing on the albums 'Nothing to Hide' (1978) and 'Contraband' (1979).
David went on to join local Newcastle band 'The Idols'.
In the end he settled in Port Macquarie and started Hindsong Recording Studio's.
Playing in a Port Maquarie bands 'The David Hines Band' and 'Dangerous Mongrels'.
He has been in 'Balance' with wife Lyn for the last decade.
Just formed 'The Flamin Bullantz' in 2006.

Lee Brossmann: Went to Sydney with Neale to join "Feather / Blackfeather" with
Stuart and Warwick Fraser. When they folded he went to Melbourne to join the "Brodrick
Smith Band"
, (I think?) He went on to play with "Jackson Browne" and do session
recordings with such names as "Marcia Hines" and "Renee Geyer". Was Playing in
local Newcastle band "The Amigos", now playing with "Gold Cadallac".

John 'funky' Halls: Played with "Shotgun" and is currently playing drums with local Newcastle band "The Cruisers".


27-08-75 The Greek Club Hamilton.
29-08-75 Bel-Air Hotel.
12-09-75 Bel-Air Hotel.
13-09-75 Mawson Hotel.
17-09-75 Mawson Hotel.
19-09-75 Bel-Air Hotel.
20-09-75 Newcastle Town Hall.
21-09-75 Charlestown Rotary.
25-09-75 Belmont 16 foot Sailing Club.
27-09-75 Newcastle Town Hall.
01-10-75 Mawson Hotel.
06-10-75 Toronto Sports Ground.
10-10-75 Bel-Air Hotel.
16-10-75 Belmont 16 foot Sailing Club.
17-10-75 Bel-Air Hotel.

18-10-75 Mawson Hotel.
22-10-75 Gloria Gaynor Civic Theatre.
24-10-75 Saint Marys School, Taree.
25-10-75 Bel-Air Hotel.
30-10-75 Belmont 16 foot Sailing Club.
31-10-75 Swansea Workers Club.
01-11-75 Bel-Air Hotel.
05-11-75 Charlestown Community Hall.
07-11-75 Cessnock Town Hall.
08-11-75 Mawson Hotel.
15-11-75 Mawson Hotel.
16-11-75 Charlestown Community Hall.
22-11-75 Bel Air Hotel.

They all flew off into the sunset,
and that was the end of the short life of Highway.

Blackfeather in 21st Century

With the recent overwhelming response to events such as 'A Long Way To The Top', it is probably not a surprise to learn that Australian band Blackfeather have been reformed and will be performing songs that made them one of Australia's leading innovative rock bands of the early 70's.
Blackfeather were one of the most popular and successful groups of the early '70s, and released the landmark progressive rock album 'The Mountains Of Madness' and had a huge hit single with 'Boppin' The Blues', but a major split early in the group's history disrupted the band's career. There were numerous line-up changes between 1970 and 1983, when the band finally broke up.

Original singer Neale Johns will be at the head of the reformed Blackfeather and will be joined by Brenden Mason on guitar and Kerry McKenna on bass (both from the legendary Madder Lake) along with Trevor Young of Lobby Lloyde's Coloured Balls on drums and vocals.

Blackfeather's national 'Change Of Seasons Tour' kicks off at the Corner Hotel in Melbourne early in the new year, (03), with further dates to be announced soon.

Go to for more info

The first of a hundred Blackfeather lineups.

Young Neale.

L R: Alexander Kash, Neale Johns, Robert Fortesque, John Robinson.

Neale in the 21 century